We're meeting with the retirement benefits lady in HR this afternoon. Here are the questions I thought of--can you think of anything to add?HEALTH INSURANCECan he switch health insurance at annual enrollment after retirement or are we stuck with the initial choice we make this month? After he turns 65 and before I do, am I properly covered under the current insurance and he in the conversion to Medicare supplemental (I'm about 6 months younger)? Can we move back & forth between private Medicare supplemntals and the state group plan, or once we leave we cannot return?Does he sign up for retirement insurance just like usual for annual enrollment, or is there a different form or process?PENSIONHow does he apply for it and when does it start arriving? Do we need to do anything to have the insurance premiums automatically deducted from the pension?How much is it with 100% survivor option, 50%, and none? How many unused days off is he carying over?Can he postpone it for a higher benefit (e.g., wait till he turns 64 or 65)?SHOULD WE LOOK INTO DISABILITY RETIREMENT* or does that take too long at this point (online info seems to say it's dependent on SS disability, which can take 1-2 years to qualify for, and he's already 63 1/2).* My husband's retiring unexpectedly after this semester insttead of after spring semester. He has a speech problem due to micro-strokes in the language processing area of his brain. It's become too difficult to lecture when you trip over most words of at least 3 syllables.
If he doesn't have disability coverage from work, then there is no reason not to apply for SS disability, which pays at a rate equal to his full retirement (age 66) rate. I developed a significant heart issue 2.5 years ago. It took me two months to get approved for SS disability, and I didn't need an attorney. It all depends on what your health problem is, whether it's specifically mentioned in the disability regs, and what your docs have to say, but don't assume he won't get it. Also, even if it takes two years to get it, if he gets it, they will pay you retroactive to a date 6 months after the onset of the disability, which means you could get a large check for back benefits. Of course, if you have to go to a hearing (which is usually true in cases that take a long time), you probably will need an attorney, but the fees are narrowly limited by the SSD laws. I didn't need a hearing, and I didn't even have a telephone interview, but that's because my heart issue was so bad that it fit within one of the designated disability categories. They did look at my medical records, though. Oh, and when he reaches his full retirement age, the disability benefits will automatically change over to regular SS benefits at the same amount. Also, if he takes retirement benefits from work, I don't know whether that would affect his chances for SS disability, but it might, so you should ask about that. Good luck.
Thank you for your thoughtful post, Res. It was helpful for more than the info it contained because it jogged my memory. When my brother went on disability, he went on Medicare so his wife lost their group health coverage. Her individual policy cost $2,000/month that last year until she turned 65, and she had the policy over 10 years which tends to give lower premiums than a new policy for a 60something. I am 63 with pre-existing conditions, not super-serious, but I think worse than SIL. This is starting to sound so not worth it.
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